Saturday, 13 August 2011


Being in Portland is a bit like being in my brain, circa 1998.  If I'd come here when I was 19 I really wouldn't ever have left, so closely does the city and it's inhabitants reflect my concerns and interests at that point in my life.  For example, the downtown actually has skate lanes and routes for skateboarders and after walking and cycling, it's definitely the most common way to get around.  Everyone has tattoos and piercings, everyone wears vintage clothes and record and book stores are more common than Starbucks (which is really saying something: there's a Starbucks on practically every corner here in the US).  Portland is also affordable and therefore attracts musicians, artists and activists who can't afford the rent in other big cities: walking around the various neighbourhoods you're as likely to see a Republican bumper sticker as you are a pig flying past.

So the question I've been asking myself is: why and when did I change?  When did I take out my piercings, start covering up the ink and stop pretending I could skate?  I know that growing older is inevitable but is growing up also unavoidable?  When did my mortgage and plans for a new kitchen become more important than hanging out in dingy bars listening to bands?  Should I accept that at 33 and with a 'proper' job (and one in which, not coincidentally, I can't wear my piercings or flash my tats) I am beyond the Portland-style life that I lived so exuberantly in my late teens and early twenties?  These are the questions I have been pondering over the past few days.  Any and all responses or answers would be gladly received.

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